Opinion | White House

A Trump supporter's defense of Michael Bloomberg

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not a racist. President Donald Trump is not a racist.

If it is the good-willed intention of the president and others on both sides of the partisan divide to "drain the swamp," then using back-channel conduits to covertly sneak in more toxic sludge with the hope of poisoning those with whom you disagree ensures failure - for us all.

This nonsense has to stop.

The latest flow of festering goo to slime its way down the conduit came about after someone leaked remarks Bloomberg made in the past defending the "stop-and-frisk" policy in New York City that many considered to be racial profiling - a policy that many others, including then-private citizen Donald Trump, felt was effective in lowering crime and confiscating illegal weapons.

After the audio was leaked, President Trump tweeted that Bloomberg is a "racist" before deleting the tweet. His campaign manager and senior adviser then piled on with the "racist" implications. The co-chairwoman of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) campaign suggested Bloomberg should drop out of the presidential race.

Not to be outdone, another billionaire, fading Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, wasted no time in taking his own cheap shot at Bloomberg. Said Steyer, in part, "Mike Bloomberg's remarks in the video are extremely disturbing. The racist stereotypes he uses have no place today, and anyone running for the presidential nomination should disavow them. We have a racist president in Donald Trump, and we must rise above that to unite our country."     

Give me a break. Steyer must have been clutching his "pander bear" to his chest when he put out that statement. Neither Trump nor Bloomberg is racist, as Steyer very well knows - and as do the president and former New York City mayor regarding each other

For the sake of the nation, the adults in the room need to stop throwing toys at each other, crawl out of the sandbox, stand up and act responsibly. 

The actual truth in all of this is that Trump and Bloomberg both have done great good through their careers and with their wealth over the years. Collectively, they've likely created tens of thousands of jobs and given tens of millions of dollars to charity.

That said, as billionaires and as the president and a former big-city mayor, both also have understandably existed in a bubble of privilege far removed from those in the minority communities of our nation as well as the tens of millions of nonminorities who exist at or below the poverty line.

It's a world I happen to know quite well. As a white child, I grew up in abject poverty, was homeless often, and sometimes lived in poor minority neighborhoods or public housing projects. 

I often have been asked if there were any advantages to growing up that way. The most powerful and lasting advantage was that at an early age I was blessed to learn that black and minority America is a great America. My very first heroes in life were the African American single moms I met who worked two and three jobs to provide for their families. These incredibly courageous women became my role models.

The second advantage was learning that we are all in this mess together.

Today, as Trump and Bloomberg - and their respective allies - rip each other for campaign advantage, tens of millions of desperately poor Americans still exist. They are out there, often foolishly believing that Washington will actually notice their spirit-destroying plight and help them.

As an American and one who comes from such a life, I do believe that Donald Trump is an exceptional president in a number of ways and is creating a rising tide that is lifting a number of boats. For that reason, I strongly support his reelection and am happy to debate anyone on the actual issues confronting our nation.

That said, I also believe Michael Bloomberg to be a good person.

For years, Republicans and conservatives rightfully have condemned those who label others as "racist" with no credible evidence. It's a charge that can end careers or hurt much worse.

My advice to both Trump and Bloomberg is this: If you truly want to move away from this nonsense and help those in poor and minority communities, then invite them to the White House or your campaign stop and let them educate you about real life that is riddled with tragic consequences.

No academics. No politicians. No advisers. No frauds. Simply invite "real" people to talk about their lives. That's how you can begin to unite America.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

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